Mohammed Haroon Kasni, 30, who was assaulted allegedly by Bajrang Dal members outside a mosque in Hisar on Tuesday, has said he kept explaining them that he also was against terrorism, but they did not listen to him.
“I kept explaining that I am also against the terrorists and traitors of the country. But they did not listen and slapped me after dragging me out of the mosque where I was performing namaz,” said Haroon, 30, on Wednesday.
The police on Wednesday arrested the main accused, Anil, who worked at the local auto market in Hisar, The Hindu reported.
A video showing a person slapping Haroon as a crowd coaxes him to chant "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" has gone viral on the internet.
According a report by The Indian Express, the incident happened during a protest by Bajrang Dal activists against the attack on Amarnath pilgrims.
Kasni, a resident of Mirjapur Pol village of Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh, had come to Hisar for the first time. At 5.30 pm on Tuesday, he was at Jama Masjid in the town to perform prayers when Bajrang Dal activists allegedly assaulted him.
“Anil was the person who slapped Muhammad Haroon, a mango trader, outside the mosque... Initial interrogation reveals he is not associated with the Bajrang Dal,” deputy superintendent of police (law and order), Hisar, Jitender Singh, told The Hindu.
Anil, 30, confessed to having slapped Haroon when he did not say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.
“He also us that he participated in dharnas by shopkeepers of the auto market,” Choudhary added.
Haroon, who claimed to be a maulvi. told The Indian Express: “They targeted me because it was easy for them to identify that I am a Muslim because of my beard and cap. Others hid in different corners of the mosque. They would have killed me had the police not arrived.”
Recalling the incident, Haroon said: “The Bajrang Dal activists dragged me out from the mosque and asked me to raise slogans like Jai Shri Ram and Jai Mata Ki. This was issue of my religious faith. I was fearful and kept standing silent. They slapped me again and again.”
“Around 100-125 unidentified people were protesting outside the mosque, after burning an effigy of “terrorism,” the DSP told The Hindu.
(Video credit: ABP News)
Bajrang Dal’s Hisar unit leader Kapil Vats has denied the allegations. “Let me assure you that no one from the Bajrang Dal has any role in the incident. We only protested against attack on Amarnath pilgrims and terrorism,” he told reporters.
The incident came less than a month after Ataharuddin Munne Bharti, an NDTV journalist, working as a senior guest coordinator, had alleged that he was forced to chant "Jai Shri Ram" in Bihar's Samastipur by some Bajrang Dal activists who allegedly threatened to torch his car if he did not. The incident reportedly took place on June 28.
Last week, GRP personnel were taken by surprise when they caught 42-year-old Nazmul Hassan wearing a burqa at Aligarh railway station. When interrogated, the assistant engineer said he was scared after recent reports of Muslims being lynched.